CLEVELAND – Trumaine Johnson wasn’t trying to channel Bart Scott, but he’s excited and ready for the challenge of trying to slow down and limit Browns receiver Jarvis Landry.
“I can’t wait,” Johnson said.
Johnson is one of the best cover corners in the NFL. He had his first interception as a Jet in their opening-game win over the Lions and made Dolphins receiver Kenny Stills a non-factor. Stills, whose role increased when Landry was traded to Cleveland, caught just two passes for 17 yards Sunday. Now Johnson will try to do the same with one of the best receivers in the NFL.
Landry has caught at least 110 passes twice in the last three years, and is no stranger to the Jets. But this will be just the second time Johnson faces Landry. He caught five passes, including a touchdown, in a Dolphins win over the Rams in 2016.
“Tighten up,” Johnson said. “I like his game style. He’s aggressive. He has that swagger. He has that it factor.”
The Jets have put an emphasis on slowing the Browns’ running attack. They have three good backs in Carlos Hyde, Duke Johnson and Nick Chubb, and quarterback Tyrod Taylor likes to run. But they know they have to focus on Landry, who is averaging 10 catches per game in eight meetings with the Jets.
“He’s one of the best receivers in the league; probably one or two in hands,” Todd Bowles said. “Very tough. Fierce competitor. Lot of respect for the guy, the way he plays the game. He can go deep. He can go short. He can run the ball. He can go over the middle. He can block. He’s one of the more complete receivers that I’ve seen in a while. He’s going to be a handful.”
The Jets' offensive line is going to have another tough matchup. But that unit should be used to it by now.
It was Ziggy Ansah in Week 1, Robert Quinn and Cameron Wake in Week 2. Thursday night it will be havoc-causing Myles Garrett and Larry Ogunjobi, who had two sacks last week. Jacksonville is up next, but let’s not look that far ahead just yet.
Kelvin Beachum likely will be lined up on Garrett, but the Jets could decide to put two on him at times. Garrett has nine sacks and three forced fumbles in 13 NFL games.
The Jets' offensive line struggled against the Dolphins. Sam Darnold was sacked three times, hit five times and under pressure throughout the game. The Jets also gained just 2.2 yards per carry. If the maligned line doesn’t establish itself against this quick and aggressive Browns front, it could be another pressure-filled game for Darnold.
The Browns already could have ended their 19-game winless streak and realistically could be 2-0. But Zane Gonzalez, who converted an NCAA-record 116 field goals at Arizona State, missed three field goals and two extra points in those games that were decided by three points total.
The Browns cut Gonzalez Monday and signed rookie Greg Joseph. Browns coach Hue Jackson isn’t ready to say all is well.
“We have a new kicker, I don’t know if it’s fixed,” Jackson said. “He hasn’t kicked in a game for us. We’ll definitely find out Thursday night.”
Back in Cleveland
The Jets' Isaiah Crowell rushed for 54 yards and two touchdowns for the Browns in their last victory – Dec. 24, 2016, against the Chargers. Crowell spent his first four NFL seasons with the Browns. This will be the first time he faces his old team
“I figure he might be a little gassed up,” Jets linebacker Jordan Jenkins said. “I’m still talking trash to him about how he was running from me the last time we played against him. He might get a little gassed up. I don’t know, Cro’s a different cat.”
Bowles said he did not watch the Browns on HBO’s "Hard Knocks" this year. He said if he’s not working, he watches crime-drama shows “Power” and “Queen of the South.”
The Jets were on Hard Knocks with Bowles’ predecessor Rex Ryan, whose larger than life personality and expletive-filled speeches made it a memorable season. The more subdued and less quotable Bowles said he would do "Hard Knocks" if he had to, but he doesn’t think he would become a breakout star.
“I’d probably be the most boring person,” Bowles said. “I don’t think they want to come this way.”
Inside the Numbers
5: Consecutive Jets wins against the Browns, including one in each of the last three seasons.
3: Consecutive Jets wins in Cleveland
634: Days since the Browns won a game.
1-32-1: Hue Jackson’s record as Browns coach
Safety Marcus Maye (foot) is expected to miss his third straight game. The Jets listed him as doubtful for Thursday. Linebacker Josh Martin (concussion) and tight end Neal Sterling (concussion) have been ruled out.
Robby Anderson led the team in receiving yards (941) and touchdowns (seven) last year, but he’s hardly been targeted through the first two games. His four catches and six targets rank fourth on the Jets. Anderson has one touchdown and one fumble. The Jets need to diversify their offense and get others involved. Sam Darnold’s favorite target has been Quincy Enunwa. His return after missing all of last season gives the Jets another weapon. But Anderson is one, too, and should be more involved.